‘The Returned’ Showrunner Raelle Tucker: How I Made It in Hollywood

Warning: This yer usual new writer memoir. Just sayin’:

by Raelle Tucker

I always knew from the time I was 6 years old what I wanted to do with my life. I always knew I wanted to write television, which wasn’t a very logical place to be when I was growing up with crazy hippie parents. My father was an underground gay playwright and my mother was a costume designer. We lived in a series of communes and various cults in the U.S. when I was little. We settled in Ibiza, Spain, when I was 6 in the early ’80s.raelle_tucker

Back then, Ibiza was a sleepy little island. Most of the houses didn’t have electricity and all the roads were dirt roads. No one had a telephone, let alone a television, but I would walk 30 minutes down this road, rain or sunshine, to this little smoky bar with all these old Spanish men smoking black tobacco. They had this small black and white TV and I would watch reruns of Dynasty, Fantasy Island and V dubbed in Spanish.

All I wanted to do was live in that world, but it was a completely different universe than the one I was living in.

I had a really rich fantasy life and from a very early age I started writing my own stories. In Spain, there weren’t any English bookstores. There was no access to anything other than romance novels and Stephen King books you could buy at the airport. So I just started making up my own stories and weaving out these sort of soap operas.

Eventually that led to me at about 11 years old starting a theater company with all the kids of the hippy parents — friends of my parents. I was writing and directing my own plays. It was really just boredom … that’s the greatest answer I have to why I started doing all of this. It was a lack of entertainment. Lack of exposure to anything. I wanted to have something to watch, something to read. I didn’t really have a huge amount of choice except to create that myself.

I remember being told by the school that they would let me write a Christmas play. I was this rebellious little hippy child who didn’t really believe in all of that stuff. I wrote this play about Jesus and his twin sister Lucifa. We put it on in this church, but it was a Spanish-only speaking church, so luckily the priest and the nuns didn’t understand what any of us were saying. It was horribly sacrilegious and the school was appalled. It was the last time they actually let me use school property to put on my plays. I had to do them independently after that.

A lot of the plays I wrote took place in the U.S. or usually Hollywood. They made no sense. They were about three hours long and had a lot of dance numbers. I can’t say my origin story was glamorous at that point.

Mostly we tried to shock people, which was the big thing….

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One thought on “‘The Returned’ Showrunner Raelle Tucker: How I Made It in Hollywood

  1. Rreed423 says:

    I’m glad it’s possible to become a TV writer when you come from way outside the system. I saw The Returned for the first time very recently, when I found the first episode very early in the morning. I thought it was worth looking for more episodes. I haven’t seen the original French show at all.

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